After I finished creating my first movie soundtrack, which was part of an Irish language short film that later won 3 national drama awards, my Dad and I wondered what it might take to put the music we created onto Spotify, which we both use.
We found it a little tricky to understand how to do this at first, even after searching the Internet for quite a while, so my Dad asked an old school friend, Micko Roche, about it (who is also quite a successful music artist). He explained that you need to use an independent distributor to put your music online and he recommended that we try using CD Baby, which he ses and likes.
We checked out CD Baby and discovered that, for the same amount of effort (and cost), you can also publish your music to a bunch of other music platforms as well. These include Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, Shazam, YouTube and lots of others.
Publishing an album costs $29 (for a standard album) and there was a one-off cost of $20 to set up a new UPC BarCode for our account, so the total cost was $49 which worked out at just over €40.
There are quite a few steps involved in getting an album published and because of the various stages (below), you should allow up to 2 weeks for everything to get done.
Publishing the album actually took a lot longer than we expected (around 1 hour in total) but the process was actually very easy to follow (there were just a lot of steps).
It starts with naming the album and the artist, along with uploading the artwork (which needs to be a specific size: 1400 x 1400 pixels). You then have to name all the songs, including saying who the composer and producer is for each track, as well as naming the author of the lyrics (if there are any) and saying who might own the copyright for any of the music you’ve used. This might seem like a lot but the CD Baby website is very well designed and it was quite easy to use for this part.
Once you have all of this done, you upload the music files themselves. The CD Baby website is quite clever here too because it spotted that our music was not in stereo (it was in mono because we recorded it using an iPhone). We were able to fix this in Audacity and got the stereo versions uploaded around 20 minutes later.
The final step was to select up to two genres for your album and to list other artists that you might sound like, but this step was optional.
Once you submit your album with all the settings above, you need to wait for someone at CD Baby to review it (e.g. to ensure it matches the type of music you said in the genre). This can take up to one week to complete and, if you make any changes (e.g. rename a track), the review process needs to start all over again.
Once your album has been reviewed, it is then sent out to all the digital music platforms to be released on them. Again, this can take a few days and we found that it appeared on Spotify first (after around 2 days) and then Apple Music 1-2 days after that.
While it took a bit longer than we expected and involved a lot of steps, it was actually a very process to follow and I’d definitely feel more confident doing it again in future, and you should too.